Saturday, March 19, 2011

A study on what makes the best TV series - why normal-looking talents being featured attracts more viewers than beautiful models

I don't know whether you guys watched "The Sopranos" or not. If you haven't, then you should. It was voted number 1, and still is the best TV series in The Guardian list, a UK-based media publication. I have my doubts at first when being given this piece of news. How can a story about the Mafia family be given the number 1 spot? I loved the X-Files, and it was listed as number 6 or something. Then finally, when I really put myself into watching, my, does this TV series deserve the spot.

A lot of the local producers will choose beautiful modelesque talents to be in the main-starring roles. They are deemed to be commercially-viable, with good looks. Of course we all love to watch beautiful people. But to watch them over and over again is another thing. Some of these "beautiful people" do know how to act, but not many, at least locally. Taking back at "The Sopranos" as a benchmark, you'll notice that almost all the cast are not very beautiful people at all! The main actors are all in the 40 and above, with the oldest being in his 80s! But the acting! My goodness, it is so good, because it is so REAL. I believe as an actor grows older, he/she becomes even better in the trade. This TV series will truly motivate those mature actors out there who still seek work in the industry. It is also a shining example to our local industry not to focus only the teenagers and model-like talents. Give those talents who are older and less than good-looking a chance too. My Artiste Training Course welcomes students who are older and mature too, not only for the young.

For the acting to show, the film direction has to come into question. I notice the camera truly does respect the all the actors' expression, being given space for them to do their work. There's no quick cuts unnecessarily to conjure some unwanted immediacy. The pace of the series are really well-done. It is not too fast or too slow, hence letting the story to develop on its own. The moments when there are no dialogue are simply the best, especially between the character Tony and Carmela. These moments "speaks" volumes to the viewers because the viewers are given the chance to feel the underlying tension brewing between the actors.

The other most important element is definitely the STORY. It doesn't follow the conventional way of story-telling where there's a happy ending or a lesson to be learnt. Each episode can actually stands on its own, if say, you miss an episode. That's a very important part of the story make-up because its a TV series. Some of the audience will certainly miss an episode. The focus of the story is also spread equally well among all the cast, with no one taking the "centre stage". This is important because viewers get easily bored with only 1 person to carry an entire series (like what most our local dramas do). It's simply too boring to see that beautiful person acting the scene after scene, carrying the same dialogue (at least to my ears). If you were to watch our local dramas, all of it must contain some form of moral value. But not The Sopranos, for morality is not dictated by anyone. People die. The villain becomes the hero. Justice that never see the light of day. True themes that affect everyday people. Something similar with the recent commercial I've starred in:

If only one day our local drama can produce such good TV series. And it doesn't cost much even to produce! The whole  anchor that makes a good TV series and movies lie in THE SCRIPT. I believe the standard of literacy in our country needs to be seen in a different way. It's not just good enough to be able to read and write, but most importantly is the ability to question certain status quo that is existing, portray everyday folks that is believable and not in some glamor, fake, good vs bad kinda archtypes that is getting too tiring to watch. The truth of the matter is: nothing in this world is so clearly categorized as good and bad. That's what acting is about too. A lot of people doesn't realise that. There's no right or wrong. My Artiste Training Course respects the talent, only seek to uncover and mould the talent to their full potential.